Some disappointing news for fans of Jessica Chastain: The actress has been cut from director Xavier Dolan’s upcoming film The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.
Dolan made the announcement in a thoughtful Instagram post on Monday. “Jessica Chastain’s character, after what was a long period of reflection, had to be cut from the film,” the French-Canadian director wrote. “It was an extremely difficult decision to make. I feel, toward Jessica, a very sincere love, and a great admiration.”
The announcement came as a surprise to many, especially since Chastain was prominent in early promotional material for the film.
“The decision was editorial and narrative, in that it has nothing to do with a performance, and everything to do with a character, and the compatibility of its storyline,” Dolan continued. “This ‘villain’ subplot, albeit funny and entertaining, didn’t feel like it belonged to the rest of the story, which ended up not being on heroes or their nemesis, but rather on childhood, and its dreams. There is, in this film, a conversation on show business, yes, but it was in the family dynamics — and, once again, in mothers and sons relationships — that the heart of this film resided.”
Chastain was set to play a villainous gossip columnist who exposes correspondence between an American TV star in his late 20s, John F. Donovan (Kit Harington), and an 11-year-old British boy. The star-studded cast also includes Natalie Portman, Jacob Tremblay, Bella Thorne, Thandie Newton, Susan Sarandon, and more.
Chastain graciously responded in an Instagram post of her own, assuring fans that the situation was handled with “the [utmost] respect and love.” She also praised the director and said she’d love to work with him again.
“[Xavier], I am always impressed with your true commitment to telling a story,” she wrote. “To be an artist in each moment, you move beyond past ideas and expectations. I love you dearly and look forward to our future collaborations in life and art.”
A release date for The Death and Life of John F. Donovan has not been set.
Are you bummed Jessica Chastain will no longer appear in The Death and Life of John F. Donovan? Let us know @BritandCo.
(photo via Jessica Hromas/Getty Images)